Thanks for the checking out the blog for this Global Leadership Adventures program!
Here are a few things you can expect:
- We typically receive 2-3 blog posts per week here at GLA Headquarters from our program staff and students, so please don’t be alarmed if you don’t see a blog post daily – that’s totally normal.
- Blog updates sent on weekends may not be posted until Monday.
- Due to many factors, including but not limited to internet accessibility, photos may not always be available to post onto the blog. Sometimes onsite program staff are only able to send text back to Headquarters, where our team updates the blog.
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we hope you enjoy following along on these unforgettable adventures.
For frequently asked questions about the blogs, please visit our Program Blog FAQ page.
-The Global Leadership Adventures HQ Team
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BLOG POST FOR JULY 5
By Amy (Mentor)
We’re in Alaska! We are so happy that everyone arrived safely and on time to Anchorage. Upon arrival, we were greeted with some light rain as the first group of 10 drove to camp to get settled into our home for the first 3 nights. The drive to camp treated us with some beautiful mountain views and we got our first moose sighting off the side of the road! We all are so excited to encounter more wildlife in the next 9 days!
After getting settled at camp, those of us who were here went on a hike around the lake. While the only creatures we encountered were a lot of mosquitos and a cute little squirrel, we did get to identify some moose and bear scat along the trail. After the remaining 4 of our new friends arrived, we did some quick activities and orientation, and learned a little bit about wildlife and Alaska. We are quite exhausted from a long day of travel but are looking forward to a fun-filled day tomorrow.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 6
By: Amy (Mentor)
First full day in Alaska did not disappoint! Our day was full of engaging and educational experiences that were a great introduction to Alaskan culture and wildlife. We started off the day at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, where we learned so much about the different Native Cultures! The facilitators at the Museum demonstrated their cultural games and took us on a tour of six authentic life-sized Native dwellings. We learned a lot about historical and current practices of the indigenous people. It was fascinating and our guide, Junior, was great!
Following this we headed to the Musk Ox Farm. We were all very excited for this stop as none of us had seen a musk ox before and didn’t know much about them. Dani took us on a tour of the farm and we got to meet several of their musk ox. After we did a bit of service work helping to clean out hay and dung from the qiviut, which is the soft underwool from the musk ox. Our last stop of the day was at the Reindeer Farm. We loved this experience because we got to interact with and touch a couple of moose and a lot of reindeers! The farm also had a 1-day old alpaca. Many of us tried fireweed for the first time in a milkshake as well as reindeer sausage. Although it was rainy all day, we had a great first day and are excited for the many activities in the coming days.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 7
By: Olyvia & Jo
We woke up this morning and had some delicious cinnamon rolls. We started off the day with a walk on the Potter’s Marsh Boardwalk. Continuing the adventure, we next stopped at Bird Point, where the Alaska Wilderness Alliance gave us an educational talk about the endangered Cook Inlet Beluga Whale. We learned that human interference greatly impacts the population growth of the beluga whales.
After this, we took a scenic tram ride to the top of Alyeska ski resort, where we ate a delicious lunch. We trekked up the mountain and saw a great sledding opportunity. Many sacrificed their warmth and slid down penguin style. After shaking the snow out of our jackets, we were welcomed with rain at the Crows Creeks Gold Mine. For the next hour, we learned how to pan for gold. We brought back our mighty treasure (small specks of gold). Getting back to camp we paddle boarded and ventured into the freezing water for a polar plunge. Ending the day, we warmed up by the bonfire, we cooked reindeer hot dogs and s’mores.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 8
By: Jaden and Luc
Today we left camp at Birchwood after three nights and headed
back to Girdwood to help at the Animal Wildlife Conservation Center. There we fed three moose and for our service work helped move sticks away from the fence line in the moose’s enclosure and into piles so they won’t weigh down the fence in winter. After that
we went on a tour of the animals and picked up trash at the same time. On the tour we saw porcupines, moose, elk, caribou, wolves, lynx, a bald eagle, black and brown bears, wood bison, musk ox again (we also saw two baby musk oxen).
Plenty of the animals had a friendly attitude towards the group and came close to the fences. After the tour, the group headed to a dining hall for lunch and ate some delicious sandwiches. After eating lunch, we headed into the gift shop and bought plenty of souvenirs while some
bought more food. After everyone was satisfied with their purchases, the group headed out in the van once again on our way to Cooper’s Landing. On the ride there, almost everyone took a small nap while listening to calm music.
After arriving at the new location, we decided to enjoy the sunlight by sitting around outside and planning the night. Then we took part in a few activities: chicken fighting (a Hawaiian game) and a bonding activity. Next we ate some of the most delicious salmon, it was freshly caught only a few days before and cooked in front of us. As we ate around the fire the sun went behind the trees and it began to drizzle. We then passed on the torch of leadership to the new leaders. After we shared the rose/bud/thorn of the day, the group went to shop for snacks at the store next door. We finished off the night with a movie, Princess Bride, as we ate our snacks. The whole group is looking forward to the coming days and the exciting rafting tomorrow.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 9
By: Lindsay and Andrew
Today we went on a rafting adventure. We woke up in Cooper’s Landing to our first glimpse of the sun and ate breakfast crepes. We played a round of birdie on a perch (jump into partners arms before peers jump into their partners arms), then we set out for ARC where we strapped on our gear and got ready to raft.
The 20 mile ride down the river resulted in spottings of quite a few bald eagles and some saw a bear. Parts of the river were rapid and we were not dry. After a few hours we landed the rafts and ate our lunch crepes by the Skilak Lake.
After lunch, we embarked on a hike back to the vans. The hike was filled with cool plants and fun stories from our guide. After arriving back at the vans we bonded as a group like never before while awaiting our departure.
We ended the day with a nice dinner at Addie Camp in Soldotna. We are excited to do some service tomorrow and explore Alaska more!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 10
By: Jess and Max
Today we had an early morning. We woke up at 6:30 and then went to Alaska’s best bagel store, Everything Bagels, for breakfast. Popular items were egg and cheese bagel sandwiches and various other bagels with different cream cheeses. Then we went to the Kenai Watershed Forum and collected and recorded data about baby fish from the Kenai River. A highlight of something we learned from this was how important salmon are for nature to flourish.
They support the ecosystem by being predators and prey and providing nutrients to the environment when they die. Afterwards, we had a lunch provided by Everything Bagels of turkey or ham bagel sandwich with cheese and various toppings and tomato basil soup. Lunch was followed by a trash cleanup. We then drove to Beaver Creek where we helped with cutting the invasive canary grass, which overcrowds native grasses and puts the salmon’s health in jeopardy. This was one of everyone’s favorite activities of the day because we could see the impact we were making.
After that, we attended a beach cleaning on the first day of dipnetting (a way to catch fish in 5 feet nets) and did a marine debris survey. Everyone was kind of tired after the service, so Amy and Dash taught us how to play an energizing game called Giants, Wizards, and Elves, a full body version of rock paper scissors. We split into Team Sockeye and Team Beluga, and after a highly competitive game, Team Beluga won. Everyone had so much fun, and the game definitely did a good job of getting everyone’s spirits up.
After a long day we got dinner at a special spot in Soldotna called Ginger’s, and it’s seriously the spot. They had a mix of breakfast pancakes and hamburgers and vegetarian options for everyone. After that we went to a grocery store to get breakfast and lunch for the following day. We each had a limited amount to spend, so we all communicated to make a giant picnic meal. To end the night we had mentor groups to describe what it takes to be a leader and played games and had fun till our lights out at 10PM.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 11
By: Kaye and Chloe
We started our day off at 7 am. After packing our bags, we went down to the hotel lobby, we ate a breakfast that consisted of bagels, muffins, donuts, and danishes. Then we drove around two hours, jamming out with our new aux cord and a great playlist. When we arrived at bear creek weir, we learned how they caught and protected salmon. We also met the amazing team, including their cute dog named Remy. We hiked up a trail to where we had our service, filling sandbags to prevent flooding from the river. This allows them to have an easier time finding their hatching site.
After service, we hiked more around the area and got amazing views of the creek. Once back in the car, we drove through a little town with a view of the ocean. Finally, we got to our new home, the Nauti Otter. We were pleasantly introduced to our Yurts with a beautiful common space and layout. After some warm showers, we sat around the campfire and sang some songs. Closing off the day, we played a couple games and ate pizza.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 12
By: Logan and Victoria
Today was the first morning of waking up in the yurts. Jess, Lindsay, and Kaye teamed up and cooked breakfast for everyone. This consisted of chocolate chip waffles and pancakes as well as the daily morning coffee. Then we left to go to the Seward Sea Life Conservation Center. There we saw many different fish, starfish, and other sea life in addition to the sea lions and seals.
Once we had wrapped up gift shopping, it was finally time to get on the water and cruise around Derby Cove, looking for different sea creatures. We immediately spotted jellyfish even before we stepped on the boat, and proceeded to spot hordes of seagulls and sea lions, as well as a mama and baby humpback whale, and two sea otters. Many people sought refuge on the inside of the boat to hide from the cold, but a few brave souls stood on the bow of the ship, ever vigilant for Belugas.
After discovering how popular The Salmon Bake is, we headed back to camp to rest for a bit, before getting a wonderful feast from Safeway, Chicken and Pasta and Fruits, among other things. Finally, to close out our day, we all celebrated our time here with a nice big group hug and a game of Werewolf by the fire. The mood was kind of somber as we realized how close we were to the terminus of the trip, but we have a full day left, and it’ll still be full of fun adventures to come.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 13
By: Montana and Audrey
To begin our last full day in Alaska, we whipped up some homemade, delicious pancakes and waffles. Then we checked out of our yurts and headed off to the Turning Heads Kennel for our sled dog experience. We met the dogs as well as the playful puppies and even rode on a sled carriage! After that we had a couple hours in downtown Seward where we shopped for souvenirs and got some delicious gelato. We enjoyed bagel sandwiches from a Deli in downtown Seward as we overlooked the ocean. We said goodbye to the town and headed to Exit Glacier. We learned about the massive ice lake which starts almost 40 different glaciers in southwestern Alaska.
Our hike to the viewpoint of Exit Glacier went longer than expected as we chose to get closer to the glacier and explore more parts of it. We threw rocks and aimed for small crevices within the glacier then took pictures. We hiked back then drove to a fjord to have our final activity. We then dropped off our beloved vans Bona and C Lion. We boarded the train and began the journey to Anchorage. On the 4 hour train ride, we saw 3 moose and 3 black bears. Today was a great way to sum up the trip and a very nice last full day in the beautiful state of Alaska.